Third time's a charm on Tim Cohen's Magic Trick
With the help of bassist-keyboardist Alicia Vanden Huevel (Aislers Set), drummer James Kim (Kelley Stoltz), and Noelle Cahill, Magic Trick may be Cohen's most refined, effortlessly endearing recording to date. His dark, pretty, strangely exhilarating lovestruck songs dip deliciously into cockeyed folk ruminations ("I Am Never Going to Die"), curious psychedelia ("New House in Heaven"), throwback 1960s pop with a three-way wink ("Don't Give Up"'s whimsical "When three people lie down together/ They're trying to make a good thing better/ Good things happen all the time"), and scorched-earth country ("The Flower," based on the songwriter's real-life experience of eating a poisonous lily in mid-flirt), with Cohen hitting new almost-heartbreaking highs with his disarmingly rough-hewn vocals and wiseacre-y wise-fool wordplay.
Modern lovers, take heed. This time it's personal for Cohen, who enjoys a nice, sturdy alias as much as the next MC. That's why his name is on it.
With Holy Shit, Puro Instinct, Sam Flax and Higher Color, DJ Jimi Hey
Thurs/24, 9 p.m., $5–$8
Great American Music Hall
859 O'Farrell, SF